Snowberry Renovation


Step ladder

Now and then we glimpse a world not predicated on duality. In such a world there are no accidents, and the sharp distinction between inner work and outer work is blurred. Even a seemingly mundane project like renovating a fire-scorched cabin can become imbued with unexpected significance. Jonathan wrote this letter to friends and neighbors just before the Winter Solstice.

Last winter I had a small fire in Snowberry, one of the cabins here at Light Morning that I was about to move into. The fire came on New Year’s Day, just prior to a “house warming” party, which of course was then canceled. The universe, it seems, has its own methods and sense of timing, not to mention sense of humor.

Fortunately, I was able to move back into Rivendell (our new community shelter) for the winter. By summer some of the smoke had cleared, so to speak, and I returned to Snowberry. The charred smell had, by then, mostly dissipated.

While the bedroom of Snowberry was untouched, the fire-damaged interior of the living room-the drywall ceiling, much of the interior paneling, and the carpet-all had to be pulled out. I have been using both rooms, but the living room is not very friendly, and I have been procrastinating on renovating this space.

For the next couple of weeks, therefore, during my Christmas break from teaching chess in the Roanoke city schools, I hope to knock out a big chunk of the work needed to make Snowberry a comfortable space again. It feels like an auspicious time for such a project, with the old year coming to a close and a new one about to begin. January 1st will also mark the anniversary of the fire.

While it may not seem, on the surface, like a huge undertaking, the inertial forces involved and the significance of the project to my life story feels important. Lately, I’ve been working on a long-standing pattern of aloofness in my social life, and have been expanding my circle of friends, especially those within my peer group. Creating a place which is inviting to others is a necessary step in drawing in these new friendships.

Having a beautiful, comfortable living space, moreover, is a crucial piece in addressing issues involving my sense of self and worth, both of which are main factors in my confidence with how I interact with my peers.

It’s not surprising, therefore, to feel the weight of inertia working against me as I get this project underway. To lessen the load, I am trying to enlist others to help with the project and also to support and hold me accountable for completing this essential step in my healing path. If anyone feels moved to assist me with Snowberry’s renovation, I would love your help!

I’m not the most experienced carpenter, so I will definitely be leaning on others for their expertise. Nonetheless, I would appreciate anyone’s company and extra hands as I fumble my way through this tricky ground. I suspect that my motivation and morale will be continually challenged as “the saboteur” (waiting patiently behind every crack and seam) tests my determination to move through this stuck place in my life.

There are various components to the job, including drywall and painting, putting up new paneling, fixing the chimney, putting down a hardwood floor, building shelves, refurnishing and interior decorating, and many other surprises along the way. I also can employ help in keeping up with my regular community responsibilities of gardening and cooking.

If you’d like to participate, write back or leave a message on our voice mail. Most of all, you can envision me in my soon-to-be-renovated Snowberry home. I hope to invite you over sometime in the not too distant future.